Joi Bangla Video

From Joi Bangla’s first music video, produced by Ageliki at Despite TV in 1986, here is the introductory trailer for this local East London duo. Active since 1983, Joi Bangla (now re-named ‘Joi‘) represent the second-generation Bengali immigrant population, whose parents came to Britain in the 50s and 60s. The two brothers, Farook and Haroon Shamsher made up some of the first Bengalis to refuse to keep their heads down in a land they now called their home and fought to promote the multi-culturalism of East London’s Brick Lane which was, at the time, a hotbed for “paki-bashing” fascists and the activities of The National Front. The Brick Lane of the 80s openly sold the Young National Front’s fascist newspaper, The Bulldog: the antithesis of the white-washed history this street commonly holds today. Joi Bangla were the marching band to win their neighbourhood its brand new reputation through their enterprising contribution to the growing Asian dance scene of the early 80s.

By Tamsin Amantea-Collins

The full film is available to buy here

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Plans to reveal yet another statue.

The Camden New Journal yesterday uncovered plans to erect a statue of Christ the Redeemer on Primrose Hill. The statue will be a tribute to the one overlooking Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate passing on the torch (pun begrudgingly intended) to Brazil for 2016.

The Brazilian government would fund the project, and a planning consultancy based in London has been employed by Brazil’s tourist agency to hold a public meeting to display the designs before applications for planning permission are submitted.

The Camden-based design company See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me did not want to discuss the plans, and the Brazilian government was unavailable for comment, but Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said he wasn’t sure a 30ft statue of Christ with his arms outstretched was quite what the area needed.

Other statues to celebrate the Olympics have been erected around Britain, often to the displeasure of residents. The ‘Jurassic Stones’ statue, by Richard Harris, has been greeted with horror by residents of Weymouth, Dorset. The Stones’ £335,000 bill pales in comparison to the £19m spent on Anish Kapoor’s ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, on site in Stratford.

 

Many people question why so much money is being spent on statues to celebrate the Olympics, and whether it is appropriate in the current economic climate. The term ‘Legacy’ has always been used to describe the impact of mega-events like the Games: urban development, social, economic and cultural changes are words often thrown around in relation to the Legacy. However, the term has been re-appropriated by critics of the Games and become somewhat of a joke. The Legacy that does seem to be taking shape is symbolised in the statues cropping up around the country – abstracted, distorted, and expensive.

The real Olympic Legacy will be towering debt.

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New Olympic legacy website: London-Rio: Olympic Cities

Mega Event Cities

London-Rio: Olympic Cities

“Cities across the globe are using mega events to catalyse urban development and social, economic and cultural change. Here we present insights and analysis of these events, examining their impact upon city-building and exploring their contribution to the design and shaping of place.

Our research is policy focused and practical. Our approach is focused upon the social impacts and legacies of mega events. We use interdisciplinary analysis to discover new ways of comparing and thinking about the mega event city.

We are interested in receiving comments on the site and suggestions for relevant material or links to be placed on it. The site will be dedicated primarily to housing academic work on the social legacies of mega events, particularly those referring to London 2012 or Rio 2016. We would also welcome links to our site being placed in sites addressing similar themes.”

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Delhi Commonwealth Games Scam

Suresh Kalmadi, the Chief organiser of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will spend the next 14 days in Tihar Jail.  Kalmadi was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 25th April for “for conspiracy to cause favour to a company in Switzerland while procuring timers and scoring equipment for the Games”.  A Swiss company was awarded a contract to manage timing, scoring and results during the September Games in India.

The CBI will file it’s first chargesheet for the Commonwealth Games which will name not only Kalmadi, but also Games office-bearers Lalit Bhanot (secretary general), VK Verma (director-general), Surjeet Lal (deputy director general-procurement) and ASV Prasad (joint director general-sports), besides Swiss Timing-Omega.  If found guilty, Kalmadi could face years in prison.

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Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos

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The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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Chief organiser of Commonwealth Games promotes his services

Suresh Kalmadi, chief organiser of Commonwealth Games, has offered up his services to the 2012 Olympics. He claims the games in Delhi have been such an outstanding success that 2012 would greatly benefit from his input. Despite last-minute worries about the unstable construction work of the Athlete’s village, “unfit for human habitation”; Kalmadi argues the event has shown the world that a Third World country is a perfectly capable host.

The Commonwealth Games were intended to showcase India’s economic rise to the world, but it soon became bogged-down in incompetence and infighting. Its defenders have proclaimed that the opening ceremony was enough to silence critics, although some have stated the games have suffered from poor ticket sales and general lack of interest from the public. Kalmadi denies all criticism and insists it has been an unqualified achievement.

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Are the Commonwealth Games Inevitable?

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Delhi Graffiti, 2010

India is due to host the 19th Commonwealth Games in 11 days. Instead of a continuation of the initial warm support lauded on the South-Asian country as it takes strides to rank itself amongst the political and economic world players, the tone has turned to one of reservation and, by the frankest commentators, criticism. Given the problems plaguing this autumn’s quadrennial sporting event, it is difficult to know which would be worse: the staging of a Games riddled with disgruntled athletes, dubious infrastructure and security concerns; or a cancellation altogether.

The fact that with less than two weeks to go participating teams are seriously considering not going and there is open talk of cancellation among various sporting authorities suggests that the Unthinkable is actually very thinkable. The unstoppable “inevitablility” of Mega-sporting events is a myth. A dangerous myth because in Delhi (as in Athens 2004) workers have been killed by the ruthless logic of its timetable.

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Evicted for Sport

:courtesy: Ravi Chaudhary/Governance Now.

This year, the commonwealth games are held in Delhi. Minister of Delhi 2010 Sheila Dikshit’s  concept of a “World Class” image has convinced local officials to  demolish any slums local to the commonwealth venues.

On the 7th of July 2010, during work hours, a government funded demolition team took bulldozers to the Yamuna Khada school (funded by donations) in order for it to be ruthlessly demolished. Those who attended and worked at the school were given three hours to vacate the property with no alternative. Police were present along with the construction teams and were seen destroying whatever could be demolished by hand in order to put fear into local residents. Many were removed with physical force.

After the destruction of the school, children as young as five years old were seen with teachers attempting to salvage items from the rubble of the school in order to save whatever they could for their community.  The children will have to relocate to the nearest alternative school three miles away in order to have an education. The school as part of the community was by no means a luxury but a necessity. With no immediate community to move to it is unknown when they are next able to continue their education and their lives.

Children from slums (including the Yamuna slums) have come together to produce a book of poems entitled “We Built This City” in order to save at least the memory of the community that they and their families have spent the last 25 years building. This emotional and reflective collection is the only weapon these children have against the bulldozers and police sent in by the government. With India hoping to host the 2016 Olympics it’s a wonder how far this abuse of the poor is going to go.

To find out more about what is happening concerning the destruction of the slum communities and to help support those who have suffered from the effects of the redevelopment of the Yamuna river, please visit Sarai and Governance now. If you would like to see how we have looked at this issue, please see our London / Delhi Project.

With similar effects seen in Beijing (Olympics 2008) and the UK (arguably with less government approved violence), it is questionable whether the development of these cities to create a “world class image” is necessary or progressive. The compaction of poor communities increases the class divide as well as reducing the opportunity for the poor to improve their standard of living.

Interestingly the official explanation for why the school needed to be demolished was “security”, the same reason given for demolishing the 100 year old Manor Gardens Allotments in London. These mega-events last only a few weeks- demolition is forever. There is only one difference between the events in London and Delhi. Eviction with a smile.

Remember- Its not losing that matters, its the taking part.

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Commonwealth Games 2010 and New Delhi’s ‘Jugad’ Spirit

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New Delhi is to play host to the first ever Commonwealth Games held in Asia this coming October and, as with the London Olympics in 2012, opinion is divided. There is a powerful PR machine here feeding out reminders all over the city in the run up to the Games, with slogans such as ‘Green Delhi Clean Delhi’, in the hopes of cleaning up the rather extensive levels of pollution. New Delhi’s chattering classes, however, seem bemused at high foreign expectations.

“You do know there will be no Games?” a well-respected lawyer has exclaimed. Less pessimistic, but equally reserved architects involved in the construction of the highly controversial Commonwealth Games headquarters more humorously claimed the public and wider international community would certainly not receive the Games ‘described on the tin’, but that the government would unquestionably know what to show. And more importantly, what to conceal.

The spirit of jugad is a common concept in New Delhi, which roughly translates at best as ‘God willing’, and at worst as ‘by hook or by crook’. Many have invoked the term in relation to the Games, which are taking far longer and becoming much costlier than anticipated, as with the 2012 Olympics. The Games will be completed jugad, but it’s clear from walking the streets and talking to people that while it remains a subject of interesting debate for the Money Men, it is a worrying and at times livelihood-threatening prospect for the many million wallahs or ‘street sellers’ as harsher security restrictions are brought into place. Many are doubtful that the measures will end when the Games do.

There are those of course who proclaim that the Games connote excitement and invigoration, that they will bring life to the city. And in several respects this is true. It must be noted, however, that after each Asia Games in the 70s and 80s, there was deep civil unrest, which may or may not have been related to the Asia Games themselves. But taking into account the suspension of civil rights after the first Asia Games due to an internal ‘state of emergency’; and the holding of the second Asia Games in order to clean up the image of the regime – whispers of papering over social cracks, and governmental tin ears cannot be avoided.

As to the aftermath of this autumn’s Commonwealth Games, New Delhi dwellers must watch and wait.

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